(First) welcomes students through center

The center’s grand opening

Students+hang+out+at+the+new+First+Gen+Student+Center

DEX ALTAVILLA

Students hang out at the new First Gen Student Center

PUNEET BSANTI

First at WSU celebrates National First-Generation Day through a series of events on Monday during their grand opening of the center on the fourth flood of the Compton Union Building.

Some of the events include Boeing Lunch and Learn at CUB 406 from 12:10 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and an open house at the center from 4 to 6 p.m. First-generation students are encouraged to come and add onto the post-it project where they can share their thoughts and feedback on separate boards about First, said Angie Klimko, the director of First at WSU.

“One of the first things we wanted to do was really build a space that was a neutral space for all students, especially your first gens that have the intersectionality with multiple identities,” she said.

Klimko said First at WSU is an overarching initiative for all first-generation students at the school. The center is a piece of that initiative, as well as the First Gen study abroad program.

“[We] are really wanting to focus on laying that foundation for WSU Pullman and how we can support first-generation students, and how important they are to the future of this institution as well as the workforce,” she said.

Klimko said the center has been growing slowly but steadily, and they want to be a safe space for first-generation students.

“Right now we are still in the process of developing the center a little bit further, but as of right now we have the center itself, where we’re providing students with a safe space to come in and study as well as lounge around,” said Vanessa Leon, graduate assistant for the First Gen Student Center.

Leon, a first-generation student, said it is important to start the center, because this is something she wished she had as an undergraduate student.

“[First] has really broadened my perspective as to what is first-generation and why it’s so important to voice ourselves and let others know we are first gen,” she said.

Klimko said she has big plans for the future such as a book loan program that will be focused on student’s UCORE classes. She would also like to have the First website to have a map of resources for students. For example, one resource on the website would be a scholarship search and students can easily find ones they are eligible for.

She said the only issue right now is budget and short staffing. The staff at the First Gen Student Center is made up of three first-generation students and Klimko said because the numbers are small, it will take longer for ideas to emerge.

The next big push will be for the First Gen abroad program to Rome in which Klimko and the center are trying to recruit for their next cohort.

First-generation students are encouraged to come by the center for National First-Generation Day on Tuesday to not just celebrate, but to let the staff know what they want to see for the future, said Klimko.